According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne, the company’s namesake Fiat brand will give up for good its position as a mass-market player on the European continent.
Marchionne, commenting on the brand’s future on the sidelines of this week’s Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland says the switch simply shows Fiat’s strategic repositioning towards high-profit and newly found financial discipline. That’s also coming after Fiat – after the six-year slump in the region took down sales towards two decade lows – has lost large amounts of market share: in 2014 the German luxury trio BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz each sold more cars than the Italian brand. Additionally, such niche mass-market brands as Skoda or Dacia are now approaching the levels of Fiat.
“In terms of the scope of a mass producer of vehicles, Fiat (brand) no longer offers — and it never intends to have — a full range of product of the kind mass brands have,” commented the executive. “Fiat will lose its appeal as a general brand and it will focus on what it does best.“ Marchionne has already slashed the brand’s range in Europe gradually over the past years – with a focus on a traditional brand strength: smaller cars such as the Panda line and 500 range. The latter now includes the reiteration of the iconic 500 three-door hatch, a larger 500L minivan and the recent 500X small SUV. A larger model – the compact Bravo will finally get a Turkey-built replacement in 2016 and rumors have the aging Punto subcompact replaced by another 500 nameplate model.
Via Automotive News Europe